An Imaginary Musical Road Movie revolves around two integrated objects: on the one hand, the programmatic and cyclic concept album Highway Rider (2010), which is jazz pianist and composer Brad Mehldau’s most complex instrumental work, and on the other hand transmediality, both as a concept and phenomenon.
Musicologist Mats Arvidson claims that a deep understanding of an intermedial music culture is a prerequisite for knowing how to interpret a work like Highway Rider. Having such an intermedial framework at hand further enables the integration of formal and structural analysis with cultural, historical and technological aspects of music. In a captivating manner, Arvidson shows how Highway Rider circulates in and through different cultural systems, and in doing so, explains how, where and when musical meaning is produced. Highway Rider is understood as a transmedial phenomenon both through its genre-specificity and its narrative structure, that is, as an imaginary musical road movie whose story raises questions about the meaning of life. The study is addressed to musicologists interested in issues related to intermediality, as well as to researchers within the field of cultural studies, film studies, media studies, visual studies and comparative literature.
The author, Mats Arvidson (born in 1973), studied musicology, philosophy and the history of ideas and sciences at Lund University. He holds a PhD in musicology from University of Gothenburg and is Assistant Professor of Intermedial Studies at the Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University.